Enterprise Europe Network

Five tips to make a five star pitch to investors

Pitch

Investment events come in all shapes and sizes. For the uninitiated, figuring out the right event and the right investors to target is not a simple task. Fresh back from pitching to investors at European Food Venture Forum in Aarhus, Denmark, Glenn Mathijssen and Philippe Hennin from innovative Belgian start-up Alberts sat down with their advisers Lutgart Spaepen and Geert Dauwe from Enterprise Europe Network Flanders to agree on their five top tips.

1. Tell a simple story with clear ambition

Telling a story sounds easy, but the most compelling ones have been meticulously prepared. This means:

  • Focusing on how you see the future. Don't fall into the trap of dwelling on the past and the present. Show your vision and back it up with the numbers that matter!
  • Keeping it short and simple (the KISS principle). Don't get carried away with the detail. Think how you would explain it to your grandmother.
  • Telling it with an energetic "can do" attitude. Enthusiasm can be infectious, so keep it up!

2. Set a clear and tight timeline

This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you know where you want to go and by when you want to get there. Investors know that a structured approach to business – with a healthy dose of flexibility – is an essential ingredient for a good business relationship. Make sure that the key dates and objectives are at the forefront of your mind, that you can back them up explaining how you'll arrive at each one.

3. Don't be too modest…

… particularly when it comes to expected sales. For an investor these figures can be the difference between ‘nice to have’ and ‘must invest’. Investors want to understand how much money they need to put in and what profit they will have at the end – ideally at least 25% annually accumulated. So be honest but also ambitious and be prepared to back up your statements with figures.

4. Have a clear exit and reward strategy

An investor wants to know "can I exit within five or maximum seven years?" so make sure you know what you want and expect over this period. The investor will also want to gauge how flexible you will be if not everything goes as planned. So have an honest reflection before the meetings and be prepared to tackle tricky questions around achieving targets and dealing with penalties if they are missed. 

5. Practice makes perfect

The investor wants to be convinced about the market, the management, the technology and the market approach. So make sure you've don't lose sight of this in your pitch. Prepare exactly what you want to say with someone with an impartial expert who can give you the right advice to pitch to your full potential. Then practice, practice, practice!

Enterprise Europe Network advisers can help guide you to the event that's the best match for you, find the most promising investor and empower you for pitching. Find your local contact for expert advice.

Updated on 25 October 2017